The Women Who Made Market 96 Possible: Trailblazers in Illinois Cannabis Industry

March 22, 2024

In the ever-changing world of the cannabis industry, Market 96 stands out, thanks to the incredible women behind it. Their leadership does more than just run a marketplace; it signals a shift towards innovation and empowerment for all. From the visionary founders to the skilled artisans, strategists, and advocates enriching its essence, they collectively push the limits of success and community support. Embark with us on a journey through Market 96, where the endeavors of these women are crafting a future where success is shared and inclusivity is the norm.

The Founders of Blounts and Moore: Charting New Paths

Imagine embarking on a journey with no clear map, only a vision of what the destination could be. This is the story of the founders of Blounts and Moore, who saw beyond the cannabis industry's present to its potential for fostering economic empowerment and social equity. Their mission to unlock generational wealth for African American communities is a beacon of hope, proving that with courage and tenacity, barriers can be broken, and new horizons can be discovered.

At the heart of Blounts&Moore’s success are its principals: Gwen Adolph, Sherri Blount, Dale Cochran, Karen C. Phillips, Earline Richardson, Terri W. Roberts, Rita Scott, and Marva Smalls. Each brings unique expertise and vision, contributing significantly to the company’s mission and the broader goal of inclusive success in the cannabis industry.

Social Equity Partners

Lolita Bonaparte: Baking a Difference with Compassion

Lolita Bonaparte, the mastermind behind Lolo's Gourmet Cookies, has turned her personal health challenges into a source of strength and innovation. Her expertise in crafting CBD-infused edibles is more than a business—it's a mission to offer healing and joy through gourmet treats. Lolita's story is a testament to the power of turning adversity into advantage, making her cookies not just food for the body but also nourishment for the soul.

Catherine Haskins: The Heartbeat of Community Empowerment

Catherine "Cathi" Haskins represents the essence of entrepreneurial spirit combined with a deep commitment to uplifting communities. Her journey from the insurance industry to co-owning Express Auto and beyond is marked by a relentless pursuit of opportunities to make a difference. Her advocacy for Chicago's youth and dedication to nonprofit work are shining examples of how businesses can be a force for positive community impact.

Mildred "Charice" Davis: The Architect of Workforce Evolution

As a military vet with extensive HR management experience, Charice brings a blend of discipline and strategic innovation to Market 96. Her expertise in developing workforce solutions significantly strengthens organizational structure and growth potential.


Merch and Creative Partners

Erin True: Sculpting Sustainability and Style

Erin True's work with Urban Wood Goods is a masterclass in marrying aesthetics with ethics. By crafting sustainable wood furniture, Erin doesn't just create pieces that enhance spaces; she tells stories of preservation, beauty, and respect for nature. Her commitment to sustainable craftsmanship is not only environmentally significant; it's a bold statement on the importance of conscious consumption and the role businesses play in promoting it.

Annie Halsema: Weaving Art into the Fabric of Cannabis Culture

Annie Halsema of Cannabliss Craft Co. embodies the spirit of creativity and innovation. Her journey into blending art with cannabis culture has resulted in a vibrant array of creations that celebrate the unique intersection of these worlds. Annie's work is a colorful reminder that at the crossroads of passion and imagination, anything is possible, and beauty can flourish.

Delaney McCollum: Crafting Connections and Community

OneCraftyLane, spearheaded by Delaney McCollum, is more than a brand; it's a portal to a world where every item tells a story. From custom apparel to unique home decor, Delaney's diverse offerings invite us to celebrate individuality and community. Her talent for creating pieces that resonate on a personal level transforms ordinary objects into symbols of identity and belonging.

Janel Young: Painting Visions of Hope and Harmony

Janel Young's mural in Oswego isn't just art; it's a manifesto of Market 96's ethos and spirit. Through her use of vibrant colors and symbolic imagery, Janel captures the essence of the collective's mission and the powerful bond among its founders. Her work is a beacon of inspiration, illustrating how art can transcend aesthetic appeal to become a catalyst for change and unity.

Dre Trobradovic: Architecting Environments of Success

Dre Trobradovic, our consultant from WHL Plant Consulting, specializes in retail operations, team development, and dispensary design. Her integrated approach ensures cohesive and inviting retail environments, focusing on a people-first methodology to drive business success and create standout retail experiences.

Shawnee Williams: Advocating for Inclusivity and Equality

Shawnee Williams, through Illinois Equity Staffing, isn't just filling positions; she's championing a vision of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. Her dedication to ensuring that Market 96's staffing reflects these values is a powerful statement on the importance of building teams that mirror the diversity of the communities they serve.

Leah Bailey: Pioneering Innovation and Growth

Leah Bailey, our inaugural CEO, leveraged her significant expertise in consumer goods and the cannabis industry to drive the company’s early growth. Her strategies for operational excellence left a lasting impact, shaping Market 96’s innovative culture during a key phase of expansion.

Elantā Slowek: Intertwining Culture and Marketing

Elantā Slowek, guiding Market 96's marketing and creative direction, combines marketing skill with a deep understanding of the cannabis culture. Their approach emphasizes community, diversity, and destigmatization crafting messages that resonate with inclusivity and reflect commitment to positive change for those affected by harmful policies.

Empowerment in Bloom: Join the 'Elevate Her' Movement at Market 96

Market 96 is more than just a storefront; it's a beacon of change led by visionary women dedicated to transforming the cannabis industry and creating a brighter future for all communities. Their collective journey exemplifies the impact of unity and empowerment, setting the stage for a world where success is inclusive, and every woman has the chance to lead. By supporting Market 96, you become part of a movement that values female leadership and community solidarity, driving us closer to a future where empowerment and opportunity flourish for all.

Support our "Elevate Her" campaign, spotlighting brands like Bedford Grow and Mindy's in Oswego, as we prepare to bring our empowering space to South Loop Chicago in Spring 2024.


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